Bangladesh Reports Killing 11 Militants in Raids


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Eleven militants were killed on Saturday in three separate raids on the outskirts of Dhaka, law enforcement officials said, in the deadliest day of a monthslong crackdown on Islamist groups.

The militants were affiliated with Jama’atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, the group the government has blamed for an attack on a Dhaka restaurant in July, officials said. Bangladesh’s security agencies increased their crackdown on Islamist groups after the assault, in which 22 people, most of them foreigners, were killed.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack and several others, but the government insists the terrorist group does not have a presence in the country. Instead, officials have blamed a homegrown group that they call the New Jama’atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

On Saturday, two militants were killed in one raid in the Gazipur district by the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion. Seven others were killed there in a raid by the police, said Sanwar Hossain, the deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Two other men were killed in a battalion raid in the Tangail district, several hours north of Dhaka, the capital.

All 11 were members of the New Jama’atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, officials from both agencies said.

The raids were not part of a coordinated effort, Mufti Mahmud Khan, the battalion spokesman, said.

“The police looked after their own work. We looked after ours,” he said. “These operations are based on very sensitive information. You can’t just go around telling everyone what you’re about to do.”

In a separate operation on Saturday, the battalion detained an important financier of the group, Abdur Rahman, who was found in a suburban home, Mr. Khan said. Mr. Rahman was injured while trying to evade arrest, Mr. Khan said, and later died of his injuries.

Mr. Khan also said that firearms and about $38,000 in local currency had been seized from the home.

Bangladeshi security forces have enacted several crackdowns on militants in recent years, but none have stemmed the growth of Islamist violence in the country. Last year, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for attacks here, beginning with the murder of Cesare Tavella, an Italian aid worker, and expanding to attacks against Shiite, Hindu and Christian minorities.

Since the July 1 siege of the restaurant, at least 31 militants have been killed, said Nur Khan Liton, the director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a local human rights group. Among those killed was Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, whom the Islamic State named in a recent publication as its head of military operations in Bangladesh.

Since the police killed Mr. Chowdhury in August, there has been a lull in attacks, which had occurred several times a month.